Apprentices put their skills to the test

Brendan Rees

Twenty-one automotive apprentices at the Bendigo Kangan Institute’s Docklands campus have battled it out in the hope of claiming a spot in the coveted WorldSkills Australia competition.

Competing individually, the competition is designed to test their technical and professional skills under pressure, just like they would repair a vehicle in a workshop.

The students aged under 24 are all part of the campus’s Automotive Centre of Excellence, which hosted the September 16 event which involved the Melbourne regional competitions.

They competed in categories including light vehicle, heavy vehicle, motorcycle mechanics, automotive refinishing (painting) and auto repair (panel beating).

The winners, if chosen from a range of industries during a presentation later this year, could progress to the national championships, which will be hosted in Melbourne in August 2023.

From there, winners could go on to represent Australia at Lyon, France in 2024.

Grant Petch, who is the project manager at Kangan Institute’s Docklands campus and the skills competition manager of automobile technology for the international WorldSkills, said he was impressed with the level of skills showcased at the event. •

“One of things is the hardest thing in these competitions is getting people to stand up and have a go,” he said.

“I say to them at the start: you’re nervous now but at the end of the day you would have had fun, you would’ve learnt a lot, and you’re all winners because you’ve actually stepped up to the mark and said, ‘I’m going to challenge myself’.”

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